Maillol ... and "Ben"

There is a museum, rue Grenelle, dedicated to the sculptor Aristide Maillol (1861-1944) who specialized in the female body. It was created in 1995 (was recently renovated)  by one of his former models, Diana Vierny (1919-2009), who became a gallery owner and art dealer … and donated the great number of Maillol statues that you can find in the Tuileries Gardens (see previous post).

At the moment, the Maillol Museum proposes a temporary exhibition by a surprising artist, “Ben” (Ben Vautier 1935 - ). 

"Ben" lives in Nice, where he ran a “shop” between 1958 and 1973. He’s known as an avant-garde, post-modern artist… known for “performances”, « installations », « mail-art », « écritures »… and street art – like here in Paris, rue Menilmontant (see also previous post).

Let’s not forget Aristide Maillol and the permanent collection. Maillol was also a creator of tapestry in the past. Three of his statues decorate the staircase of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.  

(There are a number of very interesting exhibitions in Paris at the moment. Here are some other examples: Rembrandt, Oscar Wilde, Diego Rivera/Frida Kahlo..., Hergé, Fantin-Latour, Magritte, "Icons of Modern art".)

The entrance to the Maillol Museum is adjacent to an 18th century monumental fountain, “La Fontaine des Quatre Saisons”. It offered despite its size only small quantities of drinking water to the Parisians. It was already at its creation criticized for being a bit too imposing for this rather narrow street.

The bottom floor and the basement (now a restaurant) of the present museum used to house a cabaret, also named “La Fontaine des Quatre Saisons”, in the 1950-60’s, managed by the brothers Jacques and Pierre Prévert. All names of performers in the cabaret may not be known abroad, but I wish to mention Maurice Béjart, Guy Bedos, Mouloudji, Jean Yanne, Philippe Clay, Francis Blanche, Les Frères Jacques… and Boris Vian who created his famous anti-war song, “Le Déserteur” (The Deserter) here. 


Virginia said...

This is so funky I think we will need to make a visit there. I love the stockinged legs but the upside down babies....not so much! :)

French Girl in Seattle said...

You give us quite a bit to look at with this post, even if I must confess I found reading it a frustrating exercise: "Ben" le Niçois seems to have quite the sense of humor, but I could only read a small fraction of the signs on the walls, no matter how hard I tried. Of the ones I could decipher, one of my favorites was the window display with all the junk inside announcing: "J'aime pas jeter." It reminded me of my teenage son's bedroom. He, too, hates throwing "stuff" away. ;-) "Rien ne prouve que Mickey ne vaut pas la Joconde" shows a lot of common sense: Who, can indeed, say why the Mona Lisa is better than Mickey Mouse? Like, V, my eyes stopped on the stockinged legs, but the cheeky message prompted me to move on... Finally, just so I can sleep tonight: Could you tell me what the message on the toilet seat says, please? I peeled my eyes but could not read it. Merci, Peter! I looked at the photos twice. They were even better the second time while I listened to the great Boris Vian's song. -- Véronique

Ola said...

I have never grad of him but the museum looks interesting

Anonymous said...

Paris in the early 1920s.

Was this a magical time for so many creative young people?
The many literary geniuses and artists from different parts of the world were there at this time, among them of course the young writer Miguel Angel Asturias from Guatemala. And the center of all their creative excitement was Montparnasse.

The most eminent sculptors of this time were the Swiss Alberto Giacometti, the Rumanian Constantin Brancusi, the Lithuanian Jacques Lipchitz and Aristide Maillol, the only Frenchman among them. And in the work of Maillol we see the continuity of the classical sculptural tradition after Rodin at its most obvious.

Both Picasso and Matisse had done important work in sculpture prior to the First World War. However, it remained for many years nearly unknown. In 1922 that day was still more than a decade in the future.

I loved best those en avance, a l' heure and en retard clocks. We can get classified in either one of these? And thanks to "Ben" I just learned that Francisque Poulbot was l' artiste le plus copie du monde. I really like his sense of humor...
And thanks for your many photos showing this kind of "art". Such great exercises to improve my vision!


Dédé said...

Je ne me répéterai pas.... mais je n'aime pas trop ce que Ben fait...On va encore me dire que je suis vieux-jeu mais j'assume. ;-)